First Draft Episode #186: Alfred Gough and Miles Millar
Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, the TV and screenwriting duo behind Smallville and Into the Badlands, join Sarah to talk about their debut thriller, Double Exposure. The guys talk about how, even after writing and/or producing more than 300 hours of television and movies, they are still engaged in learning and improving their craft; getting on the superhero train WAY before the MCU; and delivering a satisfying ending in books.
Links and Topics Mentioned In This Episode
The Peter Stark Producer program at USC, where Alfred and Miles met and learned all aspects of the film industry
William Goldman, an author (Adventures in the Screen Trade, The Princess Bride, many, many others) and screenwriter (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid; All the President’s Men, among many others) renowned for writing scripts that entertained the reader -- a trend followed by screenwriters Shane Black (Lethal Weapon; The Last Boy Scout) and Joe Eszterhas (Flashdance; Basic Instinct)
John August, Al and Miles’ classmate at USC and screenwriter of Big Fish, Frankenweenie, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, as well as author of the Arlo Finch middle grade series (listen to his First Draft interview here)
Mango, the spec script that Al and Miles sold right out of film school
Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, the movie that made Al and Miles’ spec script a hot commodity out of film school
The WB, Smallville’s network (RIP)
Lois and Clark, the TV show about Superman that predated Smallville
X-Men, the 2000 movie that helped bring about the superhero resurgence on film and TV
Spider-Man II, Al and Miles’ take on Spider-Man, which was a little more serious than the Spider-Man we know today
I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore (the pen name of James Frey, Jobie Hughes, and Greg Boose), and the film of the same name written by Al and Miles, and their first collaboration with James Frey (author of A Million Little Pieces and book entrepreneur with Full Fathom Five)
Hannah Montana: The Movie, which Al and Miles produced, thanks to Al’s oldest daughter, who was obsessed with that TV show
The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown as a model for the franchise character with a little-known job that leads to globe-trotting adventures--the kind of story Al and Miles were interested in telling with Double Exposure
Last Remaining Seats, a program that shows old movies in downtown Los Angeles
The Zapruder Film (YouTube link) (warning: depicts a presidential assassination), which might factor into the Double Exposure follow-up novels…
“Just cut the last two lines of every scene.” Advice from Quentin Tarantino that Al and Miles swear by
Waterstones bookstore in London
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Every Tuesday, I speak to storytellers like Veronica Roth, author of Divergent; Michael Dante DiMartino, co-creator of Avatar: The Last Airbender; John August, screenwriter of Big Fish, Charlie’s Angels, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; or Rhett Miller, musician and frontman for The Old 97s. Together, we take deep dives on their careers and creative works.
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